Please understand that proclaiming ourselves – that is our Facebook page and website – “number one” in the campaign to defeat voter suppression is necessary to lay the groundwork for the conversation necessary to identify the component parts of an effective campaign. When someone new to the issue of voter suppression wants to get up to speed and educated, where should he go? We argue that for current news he should go to our weekly print edition, free weekly electronic publication and www.Facebook.com/votersuppression. For current commentary, reference should be made to my weekly articles that are archived on our website www.GreaterDiversity.com.
Since August 2013 I've continued to ask myself "what would an effective campaign to defeat voter suppression look like?” Well, on Friday, February 14, 2014, Valentine's Day, I got my answer from Richard Hooker, President of the North Carolina Alliance of Black Elected Officials, (the Alliance). It is not surprising that it is taking time to fully organize an effective response to the NC Voter Suppression Act of 2013, a/k/a, the Voter Information Verification Act of 2013. The Alliance http://ncbeoalliance.org/ is the organization of members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, the NC Conference of Black Mayors, NC Black Elected Municipal Officials, NC Caucus of Black School Board Members and NC Black County Officials.
I am very, very pleased with the broad-based response and support that has grown up around the HK on J (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) and Moral Monday Movement. The declared objectives, of course, and the leadership of both initiatives are one and the same. Core announced policy goals of the initiatives are: Economic sustainability, alleviating poverty and expanding labor rights. Fully funded constitutional education. Health care for all – protecting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, women's health and the Affordable Health Care Act. Addressing disparities in the criminal justice system. Protecting/expanding voting rights and civil rights. Environmental justice. Fair and just immigration reform. Equal protection under the law regardless of race, income, gender or sexual orientation.
While planning to address issues of concern and writing vision statements, the single most important question is what your particular issue or concern will look like at a given point in time. Of course this is important because when you describe what you’d like to see in the future, your action plan necessarily contains action items required to achieve your concern or vision. You’re allowed to pick any point in time and ask the question. So it is with our campaign to defeat voter suppression. As the efforts to defeat voter suppression move forward we are constantly evaluating the three components of our mantra; (1). What should the education component of our campaign look like? (2). what should the organizational component of our campaign look like? (3). what should the mobilization component of our campaign look like? However, the more strategic question that we address in this week’s editorial is, what will North Carolina look like politically on Tuesday, November 5th, 2014?
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE AND MOBILIZE: Voter ID laws require voters to present in most instances, some type of state issued photo identification in order to vote. It is important to note that most voter ID legislation is coming from Republican controlled states and being justified as necessary to address voter fraud. To date, as shown in the Pennsylvania case, the evidence presented proves that among other things voter fraud is rare or non-existent. This week we’ll look at the laws in several states as examples of how these laws came about and are being received in courts and in the court of public opinion. I believe that the best Internet site for a concise overview of voter ID in the United States is one of the sources I’ve used and relied upon for this article. John Holt
The bad back that awakened me at 6:00 a.m. on this birthday morning and that spurred unpleasant thoughts of growing old dissipated in an instant with an email alert that our long-awaited decision in the voter ID had issued. I didn’t have the opinion, but I had the result – we won! Thousands of hours of hard work in collaboration with my fantastic colleagues had not been a total waste. And that adrenaline rush only increased when I read the opinion. “Disenfranchising voters ‘through [no] fault of the voter himself’ is plainly unconstitutional,” (p.43), wrote the judge, echoing something I’d been saying for two years. The judge agreed with virtually every argument we made in concluding that this law didn’t promote any valid governmental objective while disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.
Readers will have to pardon me this week as I confess to the sin of pride. But proud I am and so should be the millions around the country threatened by and fighting against voter suppression. Last week the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania declared that the Pennsylvania voter ID law was unconstitutional. This is the most important voter rights decision since the Supreme Court gutted the voting rights in June of 2013. This decision will be used in lawsuits around the country by other litigators fighting voter suppression.
Over the past few months we’ve covered many aspects of voter suppression, its targets and the threat it poses to our democracy. This week we’ll take a look at voter ID and the way voter suppression is being viewed in Great Britain, Europe’s most important democracy. It is undisputed that voter ID is the centerpiece of voter suppression laws and gets the headlines when the laws are being discussed. Voter ID is normally justified as necessary to prevent in-person voter fraud. However, it is well documented that numerous investigations around the country have turned up negligible voter fraud and where it was found, it was the kind of fraud that would not be prevented by voter ID.
With current references to the modern voter suppression and the disproportionate impact of Voter ID laws on women, the League of Women Voters are continuing their historic fight to ensure the voting rights of all people. Rooted in the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the League has worked to foster civic engagement and enhance access to vote since they were founded in 1920. On its website, the League noted that over time its work has evolved from efforts to gain and foster women’s suffrage to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, the elderly and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information to exercise their right to vote.
The N.C. Model campaign to defeat voter suppression is designed to help create a blueprint that highlights the various parts, participants and processes of our statewide effort to protect democracy and promote our constitutionally guaranteed right to "one man one vote". We are monitoring and assessing the various local, state and national organizations that are, or should be a part of our campaign to educate, organize and mobilize voters to defeat voter suppression. Hopefully, we will suggest ways to improve their efforts and participation in defeating voter suppression.
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